Day camp is no big deal for most kids, but sleeping at camp for a week or longer might be scary the first time around. Helping your child prepare for the experience can make her less homesick when she heads to camp.
Is She Ready?
The first step is making sure your child can handle sleeping away from home. She might think it sounds like a great idea — especially if her friends are going — but the reality is often different. Once camp gets closer, she might get nervous or have second thoughts.
Before considering an overnight camp, try having your child spend the night with a friend. If she doesn’t do well at a friend’s house, she might not be ready to sleep at camp with people she just met. The length of the camp can also affect whether or not she is ready. One or two nights away from home might not be a big deal, but staying a week at camp is sometimes too much for first-timers.
Share the Details
Information about what to expect can help your child prepare for overnight camp. Let her know about the sleeping arrangements so she’ll know what to expect. Talk about all of the fun activities she’ll do at camp. Keep the talk about camp positive instead of focusing on any potential negatives about being away from home. Encourage her to ask questions if she’s concerned about what will happen.
Give Her a Piece of Home
If your child is a little nervous to be away from home, send her to camp with a bit of home. Give her some pictures of the family, her pets or her home. Let her take her favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Pack her favorite book that she always reads at bedtime. Those familiar items can make it easier to go to sleep when she’s not in her own bed.
Review How to Do Things
Your child won’t have you to help her get dressed, remind her to brush her teeth or do other things for her. Practice those skills before she goes to camp. Remind her that she is responsible for all of those care tasks while she’s away from home. Emphasize that these tasks make her a responsible child rather than making it seem like tedious chores she has to complete.
Give Her Time
Once she goes away to camp, she might feel homesick. Of course you don’t want your child to feel sad or lonely, but if you go rescue her right away, she’ll never have a chance to get over those fears. Give her a few days to settle in at sleepaway camp. She may discover that she is a lot better able to handle situations on her own than she realized.